Sunday, December 21, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
The boys are playing card games, board games and now finally video games.
Aubrey is at her last day of Meadowlark Elementary today, on Monday she'll take a tour for our charter Montessori school and quite possibly will start there within the next few days. Sigh. I was really looking forward to her staying home with me for home-schooling.
Despite her need for quiet, alone time every day (which I'm starting to believe is why she has insomnia: that's when she gets her quiet, alone time!), Aubrey is quite the social creature. She does like people and easily makes friends.
While I believe she can get enough socialization with our lifestyle -- SpiralScouts, our local home-schooling social group, our field trip group, just friends we hang out with regularly, open gyms at our favorite gymnastics place, etc -- going to a more traditional school, even though it is alternative, may be more of the interaction she wants and needs. And that I'm all for -- helping her get her needs and wants fulfilled.
I'm concerned about illness. I'm on the mend myself, little to no sore throat though still a tad tired. However, both Robert and Paul woke this morning with a sore throat. Oh no. Joey just got over being sick, not again. :( How unfair for him.
I'd really like to get Aubrey's room started on. It is way dis-organized and messy and needs to be thoroughly cleaned out. I believe she is going to actually de-clutter this time. She's been really into American Girl stuff in the last week or two. She said she'd like to get ride of everything and have only American Girl stuff in her room.
Now, American Girl stuff is really expensive, but maybe Santa Claus will bring her something.
We make our gifts for each other for Solstice. Or handmade gifts that we buy from local artisans. We have a great Holiday Market here in Eugene, Oregon.
And this year we are considering (though funds are too low right now to RESPONSIBLY make this decision) to buy one family present for Christmas instead of gifts for each other. And that one family present everyone wants this year is a hot tub. Ouch. That's a spendy present.
I should be writing my nano words now. I need 1,667 to stay on track today. Or something close to that.
I'M WRITING A NOVEL!!!!!!!!! Just wanted to say that again. :)
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Saturday, November 8, 2008
I'm up to 14K words for nanowrimo, so I feel comfortable taking my bored kids to Zany Zoo. They have a petting zoo on the weekends and I've wanted to take them to this for ... eight months or so.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
The guy at the tshirt/cd merchant table is cute and it looks like he's checking me out but I'm too far away to tell. The din of voices is getting louder and the room is filling up. It's the kind of concert I hate -- where you have to stand up the whole three hours -- through both sets. Thankfully this small hall has a weird trait of one long wooden bench around the perimeter of the room. And I'm sitting on it.
It may cut down on my viewing pleasure and I won't be able to reach out and touch Joshua Radin or Missy Higgins -- but I can stand the disappointment. I'm not a groupie, I just enjoy local live music.
Several people sit next to me but then decide, for whatever reason, to get up and leave. I wonder what, if anything, that says about me. Perhaps they're groupies.
I feel, decidedly, one of the oldest people in the room. Did I mention the noise level is getting louder? And that this concert will end well past my bedtime? And that I suffered a whole night of insomnia last night to boot?
I felt inexplicitly like weeping during Joshua's performance. His soulful voice and yearning touched me and woke a passion in me. Awaken.
My mama talons flared and I wanted to kill the people talking during his performance. To sit naked to the bone in front of 50, 200 or 5000 people and bleed with your words -- open and vulnerable -- deserves more respect than idle conversations barely lower than a whisper or cell phones open to texting.
The courage to do what any musician does is unmistakable and heart-wrenching and I so want to have just a smidgeon of that for my very own.
I love a man and his acoustic guitar. I melt.
Listening to Missy Higgins, I am shamed. There is no way I can ever create something as splitting-open as she can. Her voice is dynamic and alive and climbs the known spectrums. Her sound is unique and her voice breathy and exotic.
How can my voice compare? Will I ever write anything that will carry a person's soul on currents of awareness and on quests for betterment? For Missy's songs do ...
But by the third song in her set, I am carried on those same currents I lamented I would never carry anyone on. The song is uplifting of spirit and my eyes close and I'm transported by the music of her muse.
I am in awe and admiration by Missy's multiple talents. She sings, plays piano and guitar, and even owns an awesome accent that pulls me to red rocks and Aborigines. She's kind-of a cross between Cranberries and Colbie Calliet, but infinitely cooler. Fathoms.
I'm always in awe when an artist takes raw materials, imaginings, notes, sounds, clay, paint -- and turns it into something living and breathing, soulful and creative. Like, how does she hear the notes in her head and make them come through her fingers -- into the wholeness of a song? How is that even possible? Yet tonight I am watching that happen.
This music is so cool it makes me believe that anything is possible. What I love about good live music is the passion and playfulness and the down-to-earth-ness. Musicians are so real. And rare, I believe. I know that's weird to say when there are so many of them around, but when I think of the intensity that goes into writing (my own passion), and then the double and triple magic of adding the mastery of an instrument -- or three -- and then the courage to perform it, I find it truly chilling. It gives me hope in humankind and makes me want to continue incarnating into this lowly human form over and over again.
Yes, we are lowly humans, unless we can surround ourselves with one of those rare musicians that can fly.
Monday, November 3, 2008
We had swimming and open gym at the gymnastics place planned for the day. Also, picking up Evan and Celeste from school. (I'll still have to do that. I think I'll set my alarm on my cell phone in order to remind me. This is just the sort of day that I'd forget to pick them up.)
I have a presentation I want to go to this evening. EVEN is presenting on alternative meals and recipes for Thanksgiving. The babysitter never returned my call about sitting tonight, so I hope that Paul will be home in time. Also, most babysitters (at least teenagers) wouldn't want to watch ill children that aren't related to them. :) Fair enough. Also, Joey probably wouldn't like it either.
I think I'll take the extra time to write on my manuscript. Well. Not extra time, really. I was planning on writing while Joey was at Bounce. Since he won't be going, I'll have to sneak it in while he's otherwise engaged with cartoons or xbox.
Over and out.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Aubrey's home from school today. We're at Bounce. She had an emotional morning, born also from lack of sleep last night. She stayed up too late.
I want Paul to be a part of this discussion. I'm not sure what to do with Aubrey's school situation. She's particulary upset about not having time with family.
- stay at MK until end of term and work hard at home to have alone time and one-on-one time with her (really nurturing her)
- start home-schooling her next week
- start tomorrow :)
My conundrum is: having her stick to something that she agreed to do (can't just quit when the going gets tough) and meeting her needs. I'm definitely not sold on traditional schooling so I hate the idea of forcing her to 'go to school' -- but, if she gets bored or lonely at home, will she want to ubruptly go back to public school? She's only been doing it for one month.
I'd like to pick on of their interests and focus on it for the week. Not exclusively, still following their lead, but to find resources to cater to those interests.
Making potions? Go to chemistry labs, Science Factory.
Snakes? Alvord Farm, Herpetological Society 'tours'.
Filled out Montessori application for Aubrey, she's number two on the waiting list. She can go to school with Celeste.
Joey helped me clean the downstairs bathrooms.
We watched a Bill Nye the Science Guy dvd on Reptiles and an Eye Witness dvd on Volcanos. I read a picture book about a little boy that was a vegetarian.
We were running a bit late to meet up with some other homeschoolers and Joey hurried me up, telling me that we needed to get there on time so we didn't let the other people down. :) My words sink in.
We hiked at Ridgeline Trail with Ginger and Zeal. Afterwards Zeal and Joey sat and looked at Joey's new books: "Venom" and "Mythical Monsters."
Went grocery shopping (and Joey was such a good helper), picked up Evan and Celeste and brought them to our house.
Aubrey had a playdate with Olivia after school and Lisa (Olivia's mom) dropped Aubrey off and then Celeste and Aubrey played upstairs in their clubhouse (closet) while Evan and Joey played Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles xbox 360 game.
I wrote an essay for my writer's group and started picking up my office.
Dropped the all the kids at Alyse's (Evan and Celeste's mom) while I went to group, and got the kids in bed by 9:30p.m.
- Zoned: xbox, reading "Venom" to Joey
- Bounce Gymnastics with Joey / Aubrey went to Unity School
- Allergy shot for me
- picked up Evan and Celeste from school and dropped them home
- dropped off Joey at Unity School
- went to my counseling appointment
- picked up the kiddos
- Taco Bell for dinner (blech)
- went to Deanna and Troy's to help them move
- crashed in bed
Went to Fern's Edge Goat Dairy Farm today. Thirsty. Too hot, too long, irritated. Didn't eat beforehand.
Joey was *excitable* when we got home. Maggie babysat and she told me horror stories. He bit her. Among other things. But that was the worse.
*Excitable* means: He chased the dog through the house and had to be sent outside so the girls could do their homework in some peace. He played with water, broke my birdbath and hurriedly came in bereft that he'd broken it. Sigh. Tomorrow will be better.
Aubrey's going over to Olivia's house after school tomorrow; Joey and I are going on a hike. I also need him home to clean with me.
Pictures of the farm soon: check back!
Went to Philip foster Farm today in Estacada, Oregon. Four hours of driving -- blah. Joey did very well though. We listened to the end of a Trixie Belden book on tape and he watched a couple Eye Witness videos on "Life" and "Pond and River" and "Amphibians."
He like most of the activities. Log cabin building, sharpening stone wheel, washing laundry, riding a hay bale, sawing a slice of wood, etc. Anything hands on. he didn't care for looking through the house (though I couldn't tell during the walk (run) through -- he told me afterwards) and he didn't like the spinner. The spinster wouldn't let Joey touch anything -- which he disliked.
We played checkers in the country store next to the fire (we stayed warm all day 'cuz of the constant fires that were lit around the farm), he held a rabbit and saw how traps worked.
He really had a good time. It would've been more fun for him if he had a buddy with him, I think. He saw lots of kids everywhere and even engaged with some of them. We saw Zeal (a friend) but Joey didn't stand around jabbering to him. I guess there was exploring to do and activities to be done.
It rained most of the time we were there but we were prepared with umbrellas and boots.
Fishy Joey didn't mind it at all! I mostly don't like getting my head wet. If I have a hat on, most times I don't even mind the raindrops on my glasses.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
I'm seriously considering going vegan.
Eugene Vegetarian Education Network (www.eugeneveg.org/) holds monthly meetings on the first Monday of the month. I went to October’s EVEN meeting where Wayne Geiger talked about Lighthouse Farm Animal Sanctuary (www.lighthousefarmsanctuary.org/) and since then I’ve been doing some of my own research, yielding pretty unsettling results.
I’ve always prided myself on eating organic foods and no red meat, by which I mean cows. Unfortunately, I recently discovered that pork is considered ‘red’, too. (I do love my sausage.) And the poultry I buy is organic and free-range only; the fish wild, not farm-raised. But pride goeth before the fall, they say.
You see, I reminded myself at the EVEN meeting that when I eat out , the meat is not organic or free-range. My chicken tikka masala at Evergreen’s Indian Restaurant comes from chickens housed in battery cages only a half a square foot large. Some of them die from extreme temperatures or succumb to severe hunger and thirst during transport. They are debeaked and put through pain and misery just so I can eat a chicken ceasar salad or a chicken and black bean burrito from Laughing Planet.
When we prepare for our annual Thanksgiving dinner, we never buy a turkey because my husband's boss buys them for everyone in the company. Giant Butterballs. And I eat it. The dark meat. I cut up the gizzards to make delicious stuffing with pork sausage for added flavor.
But the pigs I eat can’t turn around in their breeding pens, or even sit down. They go through massive mental trauma, as evidenced by their gnawing at the metal bars they are imprisoned in. And the turkeys. Well, that’s just horrific.
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, www.peta.org) did an undercover investigation of the Butterball company and this is what they reported:
Butterball turkeys are killed using a process that involves hanging live birds by their legs, shocking them in an electrified bath of water so that they become paralyzed (though they still feel pain), slitting their throats, and then running them through a tank of scalding-hot water for defeathering. (www.goveg.com/feat/butterball/butterball.asp)
This week I listened to a talk by Will Tuttle, author of “World Peace Diet”, which said that within three weeks your taste buds could completely change. I've had experiences where my own tastes have changed and I’ve not liked things I previously had eaten. You know, like, Snickers bars and Kool-aid. The sugar content now is revoltingly high and I can't stomach it.
Though, I have to say that sugar continues to be an embarrassing vice. I can eat whole vegan dark chocolate bars in one sitting and handfuls of vegetarian candy at a time. Nothing I'm proud of and proof that if I do make the switch, my junk food slip-ups can (who am I kidding? will) continue. But maybe I can train my taste buds to do without sausage and bacon. Wouldn’t that help create a more peaceful planet? Wouldn’t I be contributing to the solution of global warming rather than the cause of it? After all, animals (especially cows) raised in factory farms are one of the main causes of greenhouse gasses.
I'm going to talk with my husband about my idea of our family pledging veganism for three weeks, and then seeing what happens. Maybe after three weeks and a complete taste bud overhaul, we will be able to shift to a more gentle diet.
And even if none of the rest of my family do it, I may very well continue on my own quest for the end of animal cruelty. I can at least do my part by not eating them myself. One can make a difference.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
I'm sitting at my local coffee shop taking a break from home life to write. My husband magnanimously offered that I go, without having me to ask for it. He loves me. He loves me.
His only request was that I was home in time to help him put the children to bed. Sigh. (HeeHee.)
Never mind, this decaf americana more than makes up for it. Not hearing my loving and excited children singing early Christmas carols with made up choruses in the kitchen while my head pounds more than makes up for having to go back and tuck them in.
In fact, what joy. I get to come here, after being with Joey for most of the day, have piece and quiet and listen to the fountain splash water next to me and write - which I love to do - and then I get the pleasure of tucking in my lovies. But not have to Put Them To Bed. (HeeHee.)
I am meeting Ginger tomorrow to go over our Artist's Way chapter and do our check-in. I haven't been doing the morning pages (sigh) and I haven't done any of the tasks. This time. I have done them (quite a few of them) before when I read the book, but I feel this is cheating to not do them again. After all, I am in a different place this time. I'm a different person. Evolved to a new space. So I shall go over them again and do at least one. Oh. Also, I haven't done the artist's date. Unless I count this. I am alone. I'm writing. I don't think that is supposed to count. I'm supposed to be filling up the well, not depleting it by creating. Hmm.
I do understand this. And agree with it. But maybe not in this sense. Not in the sense of me escaping my house (and the noise that goes with it ... and the laundry that needs to be folded) and writing to purge and get my feelings and emotions out. Though I haven't actually done that. I think that this should be counted as an emergency artist date. :) I like that. So I'm counting it.
And now, to book.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Our Spiralscouts circle walked in the parade yesterday. These photos are of us getting ready. We all dressed up to represent an element. In the actual parade, we waved, sang and did spiral dances. I also carried Joey a lot because the running to catch up when we lagged behind the entry in front of us, and the running he did with the other children made him to tired to walk. Hmpf. You can see Fire and Earth easily represented. Joey is a sea snake for Water and those in white are Spirit and Air.
First, let me apologize for not writing in my blog for a long while. I've started this home-school adventure and, to be honest, I'm swimming a bit here. We don't have a regular schedule (though we don't need to, per se) and often when I suggest doing something (like geography or writing in his journal or blog), he refuses. ??? So then I'm stymied. I don't believe in pushing him to something in a punitive way and I don't want to get into any power struggles with him. That just brings us both down to a level I don't care to function at.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Saturday, August 30, 2008
I've been homeschooling/unschooling for around three weeks now and so far it feels like a dismal failure. The things Paul was afraid of happening are happening. Namely, that when I instruct (or even suggest, on my non-imperial days) the kids to do something, they revolt. Sometimes they feign deafness or ignorance. Other times they blatantly refuse. Or burst into tears and throw a tantrum because I've asked them to do something.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Saturday, July 19, 2008
I just spent seven minutes squishing ants with a sponge in my kitchen. Where did they come from? I've lived here four years and have never seen an ant, much less a colony. I mean, this is the first literal day I've seen them, too. I wonder if they came on some fruit I bought at the store. Or my compost bucket. Hmm. I better check that and dump it.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
I fly home today. And leave my babies behind. This tears at me and feels so unbelievably foreign. They are staying with their grandmother for a month, which is good for them, but feels terrible to me. Most of the time. I watch my son sleep, breathing in and out, mouth open, wrapped in a blue comforter. Fernanda is making muffins in the kitchen.
Joey cried again last night at the prospect of me being gone. It’s the lullaby. Sigh. It started when Aubrey was a baby and I’d sing her to sleep. Some days she’d not fall asleep until I’d dregged the pool of songs I knew way, way back when. It was on such a night – or naptime, I forget which – that I stumbled upon the Beatles’ song “All My Lovin’.” I’ve kept it handy ever since, because I like it and, really, how many times can you sing “Hush Little Baby”? This last year Aubrey’s revived it and at nine years old, asks me to sing it to her most nights.
I thought it would bring comfort at bedtime and soft smiles before slumber. Nope.
Everytime Joey hears it – he cries. Now, as I watch him roll over in his makeshift bed, I’m contemplating confenscating it. But that seems underhanded and likely to cause more grief. Even trauma perhaps. Like a well-meaning relative that sends all your husband’s clothes to Goodwill right after he dies so you won’t cry when you see them. Snort. As if. (This didn’t happen to me, by the way, but could you imagine?!)
So I leave the tape and walkman in the chair above his little head – if only so he can find a morose bit of comfort from it.
I woke early this morning, 5:30, and rested with my eye mask against the Eastern sun already shining through my window. For the prior three nights, either Aubrey or Joey or both slept with me in Fernanda’s bed. Last days of sleepovers before I go. A special treat because we don’t do this at home. But last night Joey wanted to sleep in the living room and Aubrey wanted to be alone.
So I was in the bed by my lonesome this morning at 5:30 thinking about Joey alone in the living room. About Joey waking up alone in the living room. About Joey feeling alone this whole month without me. After an hour of thinking what a horrible mother I was for traumatizing my children in this way, I pulled a blanket and pillow off my bed, drug them down the hall, and snuggled up next to him.
I laid there soaking up his baby-ness, even though he’s really seven. I moved my hand several times over the minutes making sure I wasn’t crushing him with my seventeen pound arm. Chest, then waist, now hip and leg. When he rolled over to his back, I nestled my hand on his shoulder and happily closed my eyes, content to be in the same bed with my little love – though my butt and left leg were off the futon pad.
I was reminded of some of Catherine Newman’s writings. She writes of the physical pain of being in love with her children and that’s what I was feeling. Bits of love pain slicing around inside my veins like miniature razor blades. All my insecurities of being Joey’s mom surfaced and dunked below the freezing, murky depths of my consciousness, and then surfaced again.
Joey turned his head towards me and puffed little morning breaths at me. I averted my own face just slightly. Fairly soon he rolled completely over onto his stomach and slid off the futon pad, his left forearm and left foot remaining. His aching freshness was both a delight and something that took the breath from my body.
Should I move him? No. He’d wake. He looked comfortable but I was no longer lying next to him. He was on one side of the twin-sized pad and I was on the other. I could crawl onto it, and my screaming hip would prefer that, but what if he woke up and saw me snoozing on his bed and him off? Like I’d pushed him over in the night, hogging the softness to myself.
But I didn’t want to keep lying here if I wasn’t snuggling with Joey this last ime. I could go and snuggle up to Aubrey the next room. My goodbye to her. But look at this elbow! Pale, with two faint bruises near the bony prominence. How can I leave this elbow? How can I walk out of this room and leave this elbow for three weeks? Even if it’s to walk into another room down the hall where another precious elbow with my same blood and DNA pulsing through it awaits my last snuggles? How can I leave this elbow? I’m distruaght. It looks so fragile lying there, bereft.
And then I remember that I am the one that is bereft, not this contentedly sleeping elbow attached to this contentedly sleeping boy.
He opened his eyes, sat up and saw me. I smiled and he climbed back on the bed and was asleep so fast again, I wonder if he really did see me.
I covered him, kissed his hair and whispered, “I love you.”
I always say it out loud whenever I check on the kids in the middle of the night. Like a talisman of sorts. A motherly shield, a token of love that I believe can be heard through their dreams. Can cure nightmares if they’ve begun and soften any stresses that they’ve carried into sleep.
I tiptoed out the room with my pillow and tucked in with Aubrey. She was more substantial, at nine, to spoon around and I didn’t worry about crushing her as much. When standing she already reaches my shoulders, almost.
Aubrey doesn’t move as much as Joey does when they’re sleeping. I might’ve been able to fall asleep again if I wanted to. Being in an actual bed helped, but I didn’t want to succumb. I breathed in “Aubrey Angel-ness” and thought about her elbows, too. Though I couldn’t see her’s because when I first walked in she was hunched over, fetal-position, under only a sheet and had pulled up the comforter to her chin.
It’s so precious when you do this and your child just melts into warmth – like her muscles were held rigid from the cold before and now can relax.
I thought of the huge burden I put on her last night. She came to my bed to say a last goodnight and I asked her to look out for her brother while I was gone. That he was really going to miss me, and she interjected,
“I know, but he’s really taking it hard. Please just try to understand that when he’s bugging you and not leaving you alone and just doing little brother things, that he’s really just sad and scared and lonely.
“You don’t have to do anything about it. I’m not asking you to change it or fix it. Just know that that’s what’s happening for him inside and try not to be so angry with him. And be more patient with him. OK?”
She nodded and hugged me. And now I felt like an ass for having dumped something so huge on her. Like a father going off to war and telling his ten year old son, “You’re the man of the house now. Look after your mother for me.”
God, what pressure! And responsibility that is so clearly not their’s to take!
I’m sorry, Aubrey. I felt like crying. Familiar pressure in my head, a holding of my breath and a squeeze in my lungs. Sorry for asking too much.
I slid out of bed, kissed her hair and whispered, “I love you.”
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
I doubled back to grab the camera and tiptoed across the tan shag carpet to Joey's bed. I fixed the frame on him and clicked. Blurry. I tried again. Nice and clear but off center. I tried a couple more times and by the time I'd clicked about five or six, Joey moves for the first time.
"Maawwm!" he says with his eyes closed. "I said I didn't want my picture taken while I'm sleeping!" His eyes are still closed.
I turn off the camera and clamber on the soft bed. "Oh. I'm sorry. I thought you said you wanted me to." I tucked the covers around him more and snuggle-kissed his cheek and head and forehead. He smiles and giggles. His eyes flutter open, one delayed with morning stickiness.
"I said if I was half on the bed and half off."
We'd had a conversation the day before about this very thing because yesterdays morning wake up showed their special warm snuggliness peeping out from above the tangled covers. And oh how I wanted a picture then. I remembered a previous wake up when my son re-situated himself under the warmth after having put on his clean shirt.
"I love blankets, Mom," he sighed.
Today I touch his wild hair and the dog flops down on Joey's feet. On the bed. She is hard to scold because she is love and part of our pack. Joey also loves her in his bed because he is lonely at night. At seven years old, I consider buying a king size bed so we can institute the family bed. Even at this late age.
In Aubrey's room I change her soothing sleep CD to a quasi-rock band she likes and I snap a picture. No movement. I get closer and center the shot right on her beautiful angelic face. Angel Baby. At nine. I snap again.
Dead pan. "I was a wake after the first one." She rolls over and stretches at the ceiling. "The flash woke me," she yawned.
And so my morning starts. I love my children. They are inspiring reincarnations of souls I've loved over and over. What bliss. I breathe in gratitude.